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My favorite Paris Walking Tour is quite a special and personal one: following the metro line n°8!

The metro line 8 was the leitmotiv of my years in Paris, the linking line between my job, Bastille and Garnier, and my home sweet tiny home on the Canal Saint-Martin. Line 8 accompanied me when I was late when I was tired when I wanted to read or just wanted to look at people. Line 8 was the last one that I took that cold late February morning when I decided to take a last farewell to Garnier before flying away…

Palais Garnier a Parigi

Paris Walking Tour following line 8

Actually, I mainly walked along line 8 on the surface, station after station. In the morning, walking from home in République to The house in Bastille and then in the evening in the opposite direction, often keep walking until Opéra and often on rollerblades to speed up.

On my days off, I followed the same route, but slowly, taking my time, enjoying what every station surrounding has to offer.

La mia Parigi, lungo la ligne 8

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Bastille

The fearsome prison built by Richelieu is gone (!). It was taken on July 14th, 1789, and demolished bit by bit. Getting to this famous square, you’ll find in its center the July Column.

Coming out of the metro at Bastille, you have plenty of choices. You can head to the romantically chic Ile Saint Louis, to the jew district and Saint Paul, to the Gare de Lyon passing along the bucolic Coulée Verte, or you can walk down the streets that house the old shops, rue de Charonne and Faubourg Saint Antoine… but I would recommend you stay here, look at the city reflection in the windows of the theater designed by Uruguayan Carlos Ott, cross the square and cross the threshold to visit the backstage.

La mia Parigi, lungo la ligne 8

Chemin Vert

This stop is a few meters away from the perfect square. Places des Vosges, the first royal square in town, was built by Louis XIII and inaugurated on his wedding celebrations.

Besides being aesthetically beautiful, humane, and perfect as a playground and for picnic lunch breaks culminating in a nap under an open book, this is also the place that makes me dream both for its official history and the Dumas romanticized one. It’s impossible not to lie on the grass and imagine the musketeers dueling around the statue of Louis XIII – battles that led to the installation of the gates that still surround it – the parties given in honor of the queen, the cars, the clothes … the story.

La mia Parigi, lungo la ligne 8

Under the arcades still stands several historic bistros, art galleries, and some very peculiar boutiques that I recommend you include in your shopping spots in Paris.

If you come here – and you have to! – a visit to Victor Hugo’s home is a must.

Saint Sébastien – Froissart

Just in front of the exit of the metro, there is Merci, my favorite retreat in this area. A shop-bistro-library that has the power to relax me, putting problems and thoughts in brackets. Besides being an architecturally interesting space, the selection of goods and accessories is always careful and detailed, ranging from design to fashion garments, flowers, stationery, and furniture.

Merci a Parigi

The bistro area is beautiful. A few small tables in between solid wood pillars and hundreds of second-hand books for the bookcrossing, on-site consultation, or buy on offer (arts one have a fixed price).

Across the street, there is also the Repaire de Cartouche, an excellent restaurant, definitely above average in Paris, for both service and quality of the dishes.

Ah, Jean Froissart was a monk-poet-traveler, and his travel chronicles are really very interesting! Useful, but quite boring, concerning the beginning of the Hundred Years’ War, but my professor of medieval history had a different point of view…

Filles du Calvaire

This is the last stop of the Boulevard, and it is popular because it leads to the Cirque d’Hiver, the ancient Cirque de Napoléon. The building is beautiful, and I love it! It’s like a small indoor arena; it has twenty sides decorated with columns and marble sculptures that appear oval.

La mia Parigi, lungo la ligne 8

I have never seen the circus of the family Buglione because clowns terrify me, and I might need a glass of absinthe to remain calm and enjoy the show, just like those drank in this same place by Toulouse-Lautrec while painting on the track… However, I visited the attached circus museum and was positively surprised.

Some years ago, right in front of the circus, a branch of Rougier & Plé shop was opened, a hobby and decoration maxi store on three floors… my downfall 😀 Because of them, I started candle making, mosaics, glass painting, etc., so just that even now, any excuse to enter it is a good one, and I can not get out of it empty-handed!

République

I never liked Place de la République. Too big, too chaotic, too many fast-food chains, too many anonymous shops, too many social-political demonstrations. République is too much for me.

But this has been my own stop for years… just a few dozen meters away; there is another world, mine. The fairytale world of the Canal Saint-Martin, with its rotating iron bridges, the small local summer parties, the colorful boutiques, and ancient district shops.

La mia Parigi, lungo la ligne 8

I cannot write about it in a few lines because even the Canal Saint-Martin is too much, but a “too much” that deserves to be told on a special post 😉

La mia Parigi, lungo la ligne 8

In the meantime, however, do not miss this part of Paris!

Strasbourg – Saint Denis

This is one of the dirtiest and smelly underground stops in town. Always. It opens its gates on the Porte Saint-Martin on one side and the Porte Saint-Denis on the other hand, the district of prostitutes on the one hand and in the other direction Chatelet. It is a crossroads of rich and poor … an always hovering neighborhood that I love to cross for the mix of styles and cultures that it offers and for its always interesting theater productions.

La mia Parigi, lungo la ligne 8

Pic is taken from a Facebook contact of mine months ago… now I do not remember which one, though! Pardon !!!

Bonne Nouvelle

This corner of Paris is a mini Times Square, with neon lights and trendy bistros, the academy of dramatic art. Above all, Le Grand Rex, a maxi cinema in pure Art Deco style, specialized in big Hollywood productions and home to artists such as Paolo Conte and Ute Lemper.

Even very late at night, coming back home after post-Garnier’s performances dinners is animated and positively influences my mood.

Grands Boulevards

I’m singing… yes, I’m humming on Yves Montand’s song notes because nothing makes you feel and understand so well what the Grands Boulevards are. In fact, click on the link and listen to it too. And the video retraces line 8 😉

The Grands Boulevards represent the Parisian belle vie, licentiousness included. In addition to always open bars and restaurants and some of my favorite covered walkways, there is also the wax museum, the legendary Musée Grévin.

Richelieu – Drouot

We are in the chic area 😉 This stop is important because it serves the Opéra Comique, a small, absolutely perfect Italian theater well worth a visit. And if you are a fan of comic opera, this is the place for you.

La mia Parigi, lungo la ligne 8

However, this metro stop is also important for the auction house Hôtel Drouot. If you’ve never attended an auction of works of art, I recommend you try this. The adrenaline rises even when you’re just sitting in the room with neither the intention nor the ability to participate. Kind of a game fever, I guess…

Opéra

My arrival station and the core of my dreams and aspirations symbolize the realization of my ambitions and my growth. Passion, work, friendships, disappointments, conflict, and satisfaction. Opéra is the core of my Paris, but also that of my being an adult.

La mia Parigi, lungo la ligne 8

Ore fantasticando con gli occhi alzati sul soffitto di Chagall…

In addition to being all these things to me, it is also a central underground station in the capital. It opens on the Palais Garnier (you should really visit it!), on avenue de l’Opéra and then on Comédie Française, the Palais Royal and the Louvre also on Place Vendome, Boulevard de Capucines and Madeleine. In short, from here, you can follow your feeling, and there is no wrong way or at least not a non-interesting one.

La mia Parigi, lungo la ligne 8

Oh, for shopaholics like the writing one, on the back of the Palais Garnier stand in all their splendor the Galeries Lafayette 😉 During this period of the year, they sparkle, and windows animate for Christmas. If you go into this Ali Baba cave, do it for me, do not forget Lafayette Gourmet. Then let me know!

I leave you with him. À Paris…

P.S. Ligne 8 was also the magazine of the Paris Opera during Gérard Mortier era.

“L’être ou le néant, voilà le problème. Monter, descendre, aller, venir tant fait l’homme qu’à la fin il disparait. Un taxi l’emmène, un métro l’emporte, la tour n’y prend garde, ni le Panthéon. Paris n’est qu’un songe…”

Zazie dans le métro – Raymond Queneau

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Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.